One of Taleb’s best insights:
It’s better to make the system robust to reality, rather than seeking to change the way people are.
He applies the advice to financial greed but you can extend the idea across domains. For example, I consume less sport because…
It’s better to make your mood robust to reality, rather than rail against cheating.
Outrage is a distraction from the work I need to do. So is fear, and I found myself feeling fearful in a meeting last week.
I spent most of my working life in a job where there is a financial incentive to mislead me. Recently, I was sitting in a meeting and the CEO lit up my spidey sense:
- He showed over-reaction to small stimuli
- He told me he was honest
- He showed a lack of impulse control
I pay attention to the trifecta because it usually means there is a secret around me.
It could be innocuous => I can be insufferable when hyped and nervous. Anyhow, the lesson here is not about the CEO. I looked inside:
- Repulsion => the feeling that I might get ripped off is unpleasant.
- Hubris => I caught myself thinking, “if only this guy was more like me. He could be so much more…”
- Catastrophizing => my mind jumped to the worst case scenario => he’s a crook and I’m going to lose my investment!
Fortunately, I didn’t act on any of these feelings. Merely watched them come & go.
I reminded myself that I can only be deceived when I want something.
- What do I want to have happen?
- Why am I in this meeting?
I was in the meeting to avoid making a mistake in my life.
Someone else’s life is beside the point.
But what was I seeking? What was causing the uneasiness?
This summer, I felt a push to start writing again. I had been reading books and listening to author interviews. There was something, essential, missing from their dialogue.
The humility to see that the optimal plan is rarely optimal.
I studied world-class experts, sharing world-class advice. Advice they could not implement in their own lives.
I wanted to shout, “If you are right but you can’t get it done then you are not right!”
Then I came across this Goggins post on Instagram
When you don’t know yourself nor do you care to know yourself, you end up spending the majority of your time trying to please other people. People who like you when it’s convenient for them, when you are doing something for them, when you are making them feel better about themselves, etc.
The entire post is gold. Wildly excessive fatigue strips everything away and leaves you with the truth, your truth. DG is lucky he’s writing it down. We are lucky he’s sharing.
You see, what I was feeling was a conflict between knowing the author’s advice works and seeing him not being able to implement. It was what drove the question in last week’s blog… Who gets the benefit of your best advice? Frankly, who cares. And more importantly, who am I to care?
Repulsion, hubris, catastrophizing => replaced with gratitude, for access to world-best advice, and an opportunity to improve myself.
Sport, finance, relationships… absent desire, we can never be deceived.